Amazon is preparing a free, ad-supported version of its Prime Video streaming service, which will help it diversify itself from rivals Hulu and Netflix.
It’s thought that the firm has already entered into negotiations with a number of leading TV networks and movie studios, in a bid to release its free on-demand streaming platform before the competition catches wind of its plan.
Prime Video is bundled with Amazon’s premium shipping service in a number of countries, including the United States, offering customers instant access to a slew of syndicated movies and TV shows, as well as original content .
Amazon has around 85 million customers subscribed to Prime in the United States, while Netflix has around 50 million, according to a recent study. An ad-supported membership tier could help it strengthen its lead.
The release of a free platform could also enable Amazon to target cost-conscious markets, like India, where a significant number of residents aren’t in a position to shell out $10.99 a month – or $99 per year – for a Prime membership.
If piracy has taught us anything, it’s that people are only too willing to watch something for free, even if it’s riddled with ads. Amazon’s service should employ a similar model, with the main difference being that it will pay creators royalties.
Oh…and it will, of course, be legal.